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Zara

a film by Ayten Mutlu Saray

DRAMA | 2008 | A,CH,NL | 83 min | Kurdisch, Deutsch | Color | 1:1,85

  • General
  • Cast&Crew
  • About the film
  • Trailer
  • Festivals & Prizes
  • Biography

“Zara” is about how exiled people are forced to live their fate not only as an 

external state, but equally so as an inner destiny. Therein, several time levels are 

involved: a past which is lost, a present which is ruined, and a future which is 

colored with hope. 

 

An open, empty plain stretches out around the village of Zara, dotted with ruins of 

abandoned places. Here, the film‟s characters are searching for what they‟ve 

lost:  letters, childhoods, homes, friends, parents and children…  

The village of Zara constitutes the fulcrum of a quest for a safe place – a search 

which gives rise to the unfolding of the remembered and the dreamt; all within 

the realm of the imagined present.  

 

In Zara, the Cem ceremony is a celebration of the quest for hope.  


Cast: Alişan Önlü (Verrückter),Bedriye Aydemir (Mirkas Mutter), Roza Erdem (Gul), Newroz Baz (Hidir), Sultan Cakmak (Zeynep), Serpil Öcal (Mirka), Barbara Sotelsek (Nursa), Jiyan Aktaş (Mirka 8)

Director: Ayten Mutlu SarayScreenplay: Ayten Mutlu SarayCamera: Felix von MuraltEditing: Daniel Gibel, Frédéric Fichefet, Ilse BucheltMusic: Marcel VaidSound: Eric SpitzerArt Direction: Esther ViersenCostumes: Ellen LensIn cooperation with: Pantheon Film
Production: Ayten Mutlu Saray, Gabriele Kranzelbinder, Jos van der Pal, Ilker Abay
Funding: Initiative Autorenkino, Stadt Basel, Stadt Genf, Rotterdam Film Fund, Hubert Bals Fund, SF TV, Bundesamt für Kultur Schweiz, Migros Kulturprozent, Suisa Stiftung

Director's Statement 

Exile is an abbreviation, an accumulation of several planes of time. „Past‟, 

„present‟ and „future‟ intertwine to alter an objective reality into a subjective 

dream. The long wait for the day of return, the sorrow over what has passed and 

an unlived present fuse into a dreamt-up Cosmos. Exile is depicted on both poetic 

and political levels. Poetic are the dreams, memories and daytime reveries. That 

which is political is silenced, as the images are  interpreted deliberately through 

music and sound. 

 

The slow travelling shots, the cuts in the film‟s timeline, the dreams, memories and 

waking visions are aesthetic choices aimed at representing a state of loss. It is a 

loss that is felt throughout the protagonists' quest to find this place that isn‟t a 

place: a place merely symbolising the ‚fragilité d‟une vie„. 

All protagonists carry out their quest in the lonely landscape of an empty plain. 

This landscape is bounded by an invisible power, shown as blurry images of 

soldiers scattering white powder. Used for the demarcation of regions, the 

powder is furthermore poisonous and is deployed to destroy nature and people. 

The real military aggression is not portrayed through image and sound. No voice 

or image could express the degree of horror. Each real depiction of military 

aggression only serves to support the horror.  

It is not the aggression of a single nation which is under charge, but rather 

aggression itself. For aggression belongs to no nation. Counter-balancing the 

horror, this film communicates the message that "We are the Garden. The Rose is 

with us." The world seen as a garden and the rose therein as peace. The search 

for this 'garden' symbolizes a longing for security.  

 

Zara is a poetic protest in a world, marked by military aggression and exile. 




“Zara” is about how exiled people are forced to live their fate not only as an 

external state, but equally so as an inner destiny. Therein, several time levels are 

involved: a past which is lost, a present which is ruined, and a future which is 

colored with hope. 

 

An open, empty plain stretches out around the village of Zara, dotted with ruins of 

abandoned places. Here, the film‟s characters are searching for what they‟ve 

lost:  letters, childhoods, homes, friends, parents and children…  

The village of Zara constitutes the fulcrum of a quest for a safe place – a search 

which gives rise to the unfolding of the remembered and the dreamt; all within 

the realm of the imagined present.  

 

In Zara, the Cem ceremony is a celebration of the quest for hope.  


Prizes:
Schweizer Filmpreis for the best music 2009

Festivals:

Middle East International Film Festival - Abu Dhabi ( United Arab Emirates)  10.10.2008 - 19.10.2008

Solothurn Filmtage (Switzerland) - 02.2009

Rotterdam International Film Festival, Bright future section (The Netherlands) 21.01.2009 . 01.02.2009

London Kurdish Film Festival (England) 20.11.2009 - 30.11.2009

Calabria Film Festival (Italy)  08.12.2009 - 12.12.2009

Fajr International Film Festival, Teheran (Iran) 28.01.2010 - 11.02.2010

Festival du Cinéma Kurde de Paris (France) 01.12.2010 - 07.12.2010

 



Ayten Mutlu Saray isn't all that interested in telling stories as such. She works with an essaistic approach to personal perception.  In 2002, her last 35mm fiction film 'La Mort en Exil' was selected for the film festivals of Cannes and Locarno and it won her a nomination for the Prix Europa in Berlin.  

Biography

She studied Antropology and Sciences of religion at University of Freiburg in Switzerland and at Freie University in Berlin.

 

Filmography

2014           Controlling and Punishment, 90min, Cinema du Reel Paris - Price for best film at

                   European Filmdays in Tunisia

 

2009            Zara, fiction, 35mm, 80 min - Middle East Film Festival, Rotterdam

                   Filmfestival, Nomination for best musicfilm in Switzerland

 

2002           La Mort en Exil, fiction, 35mm, 27min, several festivals e.g. Cinéfondation in Cannes,

                   Journées de Soleure, Locarno, Kalkutta, Tel Aviv, New York

 

Distribution in cinema, TV broadcast by ARTE, TSR

Price for Contemporary Art, Switzerland Audience Award filmfestival Marburg Price for best short film, Nominated for the European Price in Berlin






© KGP Kranzelbinder Gabriele Production, AV PAL, A.M.